(Kitco News) – Gold and silver prices are modestly up in early U.S. trading Friday, supported in part by a weaker U.S. dollar index. However, buying interest in the precious metals is still being squelched by the generally upbeat tenor of the marketplace since the first of the year. February gold futures were last up $2.80 an ounce at $1,282.60. March Comex silver was up $0.065 at $15.365 an ounce.

European and Asian stock markets were mostly firmer overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward higher openings when the New York day session begins. There are several new elements in the marketplace today that could provide some more volatility during U.S. trading hours.

The marketplace is so far taking in stride the news just out that another close friend and aide of President Donald Trump was arrested in Florida, in connection with the Russian election tampering investigation.

In other overnight news, a Dow Jones Newswires report said the Federal Reserve will likely end its unwinding of its massive U.S. securities portfolio sooner than expected. That, in effect, is another sign the Fed is backing off on tightening its monetary policy and further suggests the Fed will not raise U.S. interest rates this year.

There was more downbeat economic news coming out of the European Union today. The European Central Bank’s “Survey of Professional Forecasters” saw them lower Euro zone economic growth to 1.5% this year and in 2020. The last forecast from the group saw growth in 2019 at 1.8% and in 2020 at 1.6%. Meantime, the German Ifo business sentiment index dropped to a three-year low in January. This news comes as the Euro currency slumped to 1.5-year low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday.

The outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index trading lower on a corrective pullback from good gains Thursday that pushed prices to a three-week high. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices are slightly higher and trading just above $53.00 a barrel.

There were several key U.S. economic reports due for release Friday, but the ongoing government shutdown has cancelled them. Traders continue to deal with a lack of fresh U.S. economic data to help them drive the markets.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Technically, the gold bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage but have faded recently. Prices are still in a two-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart, but just barely. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in February futures above solid resistance at $1,300.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at $1,260.00. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of $1,286.00 and then at $1,292.20. First support is seen at this week’s low of $1,275.30 and then at $1,270.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.0

Live 24 hours silver chart [ Kitco Inc. ]

March silver futures bulls are fading. Silver bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the January high of $15.955 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $15.00. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of $15.445 and then at $15.60. Next support is seen at this week’s low of $15.195 and then at $15.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 5.5.